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You’re going to have to excuse the quotation marks, but because no deal can actually be signed until July 11, all of these trades are still classified as “tentative” for now. Plus, I’d like to live in a world in which Gerald Wallace did not just sign a $40-million contract, if only for another week or so.
That reminds me, it’s too early to call it an expiring contract if it hasn’t even been signed yet, right? Thought so; I’ll wait.
Either the Nets know something we don’t, or that was the worst possible start to free agency.
For a team in pole position for Dwight Howard’s services after his whole “I’m only going to one team” declaration, trading for Joe Johnson makes next to no sense. Johnson is due almost $20 million next season and will making $25 million in 2015, when he’ll be 35.
If the Nets are emulating Boston’s plan (remember they had to trade for Ray Allen first before Kevin Garnett green-lit the trade) of getting two stars first (Johnson and Deron Williams) and they eventually wind up with Howard as well, then you can make the case that the Johnson trade was worth it, regardless of how much he will kill their salary cap in coming years.
However, Boston already had Paul Pierce under contract when they made the Ray Allen trade, whereas the Nets could very well lose Deron Williams to Dallas. You think Howard wants to go to the Nets if Williams isn’t there? He’d have to be insane.
Plus, for the Nets to get Howard, they can’t just wait until free agency anymore. Not after re-signing Gerald Wallace to an absurdly expensive 4-year/$40 million deal. In my free agency preview, I had a feeling someone was going to break the bank for Wallace.
“When we look back at this summer in a few year’s time, Wallace might stand out as the player who signed the most over-inflated deal. Considering Roy Hibbert is also due for a new contract, that’s saying something. Wallace appears to be on the downside of his career arc. He may only be 29, but he has a lot of miles on him. His game is predicated on athleticism and hustle and it’s hard to imagine him putting up another 18-10 season, as he did in 2010.”
So if you’re keeping track at home, the Nets have to hope that Orlando wants Wallace, as the only way Howard can wind up in Brooklyn is through a sign-and-trade. Why the Nets felt the need to get Johnson now when that same deal would still have been there in a year’s time (you think anyone else wanted him? Hawks GM Danny Ferry must have done at least 4 back flips today), is beyond me. Again, they could have just waited one more year – not sign Wallace or trade for Johnson – and simply gone after Howard then.
Danny Ferry is playing his hand perfectly
It’s been less than two weeks since Ferry took over as the General Manager for the Atlanta Hawks and already he’s undone a decade’s worth of contractual damage.
By getting rid of Johnson and Marvin Williams (by somehow convincing Utah to take him for Devin Harris), Ferry will save Atlanta upwards of $80 million over the next few years. He’s also ruthlessly sticking to a fundamental principle of successful NBA team management- in this league, you either want to be contending for a championship or a top lottery pick, not stuck in the middle.
Still, he’s cleaning house rather mercilessly.
As Grantland’s Rembert Browne tweeted, “Danny Ferry is in his new office in a doo-rag, watching World Star videos and firing anyone that looks at him sideways.”
Next summer, the Hawks will potentially have a shot at Dwight Howard (not to mention a hometown advantage, plus one of the best forwards in the league and one of Howard’s close friends — Josh Smith — already on the team) and even if they strike out, they can rebuild through the draft and a young core of Jeff Teague, Al Horford, and Smith. Well played, Danny.
For all this talk of it now being a “guard’s league,” the money suggests otherwise.
After watching two small-ball teams overwhelm both conferences to get to the NBA Finals, you’d think average to decent NBA centers would have a tough time getting paid this summer. Wrong.
We’ve already seen Houston reportedly offer Omer Asik, Chicago’s one-dimensional back-up center, a 3-year/$24 million deal that Chicago will have the option to match (and probably won’t.)
And of course Portland, a team that can never resist going after questionable big men, is offering Indiana’s 7-foot-2 center, Roy Hibbert, a max deal in the range of 4-years/$58 million. This for a guy who averaged 13-8 last year and couldn’t dominate two tiny front-lines (Orlando and Miami) in the Playoffs. That won’t backfire. And of course this is after
wasting a pick on drafting Illinois center Meyers Leonard with the eleventh pick in the draft.
If Steve Nash winds up going to Toronto, then we’ve all overestimated his competitiveness
That’s not to say that Nash should simply go to Miami, but there are so many better options basketball-wise than Toronto.
He could go to Chicago and start possibly the entire year while Rose rehabs his knee. That would be the deepest team he’s been on in half a decade. Then when Rose comes back, they could play in tandem and move Rose over to the 2.
Or he could just go to New York and have more offensive weapons than he can handle. Oklahoma City also makes a lot of sense considering their need for an outside shooter.
The one thing those aforementioned teams don’t have- Toronto’s money. If Nash takes the Raptors’ 3-year/$36 million offer to spend the rest of his days playing on a fringe Playoff team, does geographic location really make up for the fact that he’ll never win a ring?
Considering he can move to Canada in a few year’s time once he retires, doesn’t it make more sense to go to a team that is only a piece away from a championship even if it means taking less money and passing up the chance to play in the motherland? Only if he really is as competitive as everyone seems to think.
By Thomas Johnson (Twitter)
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